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Saturday 4 June 2011

Day 26 - Hell's Half Acre

Todays mileage: 100
Total mileage: 1,313
End point: Casper, WY

If you google map Desert Inn Motel in Shoshoni to East Casper RV / Campground you will find its hundred miles: BOOM! I just joined the century club :) Or for our Canadian and continental European friends that's 161km. Now many people not only in the US but across the world are unaware that we use miles in the UK, normally I am very polite in explaining the mess that is / isn't metrification in the UK. One time after too many beers however I exclaimed "We invented miles!!" to some poor person. At that point Mr Jeremy Burtel (Pam's friend from college and riding buddy of mine) correctly interjected that it was in fact the Romans that invented miles, always good to be cut down to size.

When I completed my 88 miles last week I was keen to have pam pass this on to Jeremy, he however responded with the fact that that very day he had himself done a century. So Jeremy this century is for you. I would like to point out that this is no competition, for if it was Jeremy would destroy me; he is currently training for an ironman. The thought of running a marathon now is ridiculous, and as for swimming that would definately result in drowning - unless there was a lifeguard present. The thing is, what on earth does your last training session look like? 'Oh honey, I'm just doing an 80mile ride, 20 mile run and then swim across the Ohio to indiana and back'... errr right... crazy talk. I intend to interrogate him in detail when we catch up in louisville this summer. The louisville ironman is in August if I am correct, so best of luck to jeremy with his training.

This morning I left the motel early at 7 am, with my seat some how rotated 45 degrees which I cycled with down to the gas station in a comedy style. Stocking up with food I think I spent  more than the gas would have cost to drive todays route. Saddle corrected and raised slightly I set off into the wilderness. It became quickly apparent my 1cm raise of my saddle was ripping my groins apart, its an amazing such a small adjustment can have such a large effect. This kinda of makes me feel that my saddle on my road bike is too high in England.

After 10 miles or so I looked backed to see snow capped mountains in the distance; I realised this must be poop time for cyclers heading West. Either pooping themselves with excitement about getting to see Yellowstone of the Tetons, or pooping with fear that some of the most epic climbs of their life were coming up. For me however I suspected that would be the end of the snow and onto warmer lands.

The first half of the ride was 50 miles up a very gradual gradient with a gentle headwind, it was quite tough. Lots of scrub with the odd bit of cattle about. Spotted my first cactus! There were towns marked on the map, the first town Moneta, is pictured above - this is literally the whole town in the picture, you get point!

Now there are quite a few other things I spotted in this first half, but I am going to save them for my Casper quiz tomorrow. You know I hate writing on my rest days, and today I have done the hardwork, so tomorrow I am throwing it back to you.. all will be explained.

At the midpoint there was a little rest area were I took lunch for 40 mins. Three interesting chats. Firstly a 7 year old boy asking me if I knew that I could get a plane from Seattle to Florida.. I cracked up at this (little does he know about my addiction to airmiles). Then what I can only describe as an native indian chief, who told me he only the had the greatest respect for what I was doing, Final conversation with a trucker who explained the process of laying tarmac to me (one for you their dad!)

Pushing on I spotted some more car hoarding - good photo above. I've seen at least 50 'white bums', I'm not going to try and guess their phylum, genus or order. I even managed to get some video of them as normally the flee once they see me.

I've been waiting at some point to find some valuable item by the side of the road maybe some gold, some dollars or something totally random. How about a full unopened bottle of gatorade? Yep I opened it and sipped!!! I know some people are going to be horrified by this. Anyway it didn't taste so good - not however because it had been lace with poison, more I suspect because it was out in the sun. And while we are on the subject, more 20c and sunny.

Closing in towards Casper I reached the only tourist destination on this desolate route; hells half acre. I wasn't sure what to expect. Well its basically a football field sized area, dropped 50 feet into the ground with weird rock shaped points. Geologists would get very excited about such things. The name it turns out is justified; native american indians would round the buffalo up, drive them into the pit where they would throw spears down to kill the animals - yikes! Today at least their were only kids from Casper College on a field trip.

I rolled into Casper feeling pretty tired, and I had to go all the way through the city. Upon arrival Lisa and Verdell in the RV parked next to my tent spot immediately provided beer, wine and ribs! Absolutely awesome! Rest day tomorrow and a few questions for you guys :)

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